Wolves 3 (Traore 55, Jimenez 82, Doherty 89) Man City 2 (Sterling 25, 50)
Wolves made it two wins out of two against the Premier League champions after coming from two goals down to claim a memorbale win against Manchester City in the final game of the decade at Molineux.
A pair of Raheem Sterling goals put City ahead with 40 minutes of the game remaining – the first coming in controversial circumstances after VAR forced a penalty retake after Rui Patricio saved Sterling’s initial effort from the spot, before Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty netted to vital goals for Wolves.
The first-half began in electric fashion with both sides going hell for leather to try and take the early lead, but both defences were standing up to the challenges.
Following a clash of heads between Leander Dendoncker and Benjamin Mendy which led to a lengthy stoppage, Wolves caught Man City napping as Conor Coady floated a delightful ball over the top of the visitor’s defence and to the feet of Diogo Jota who was marauding forward.
As Jota approached the City area, the Portuguese forward delicately lifted the ball over the onrushing Ederson, who wiped Jota clean out. Referee Martin Atkinson had no choice but to pull out the red card and send the keeper off. Sergio Aguero, who was only in his second match back after a long spell on the sidelines through injury, was taken off for substitute stopper Claudio Bravo.
From the resulting free-kick, Joao Moutinho was able to beat the wall, but his curling effort fell kindly for Bravo. Moments later, Doherty almost backheeled an effort in from an impossible angle after a Wolves corner was headed across the box.
VAR reared its head midway through the first-half when Riyad Mahrez went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Dendoncker. Although Atkinson was initially unmoved, the decision to award a goal-kick was reversed and a penalty awarded.
Rui Patricio was the hero – all for one minute – when he dived to low to his right to keep out Sterling’s penalty. But VAR intervened once again and decided Wolves players encroached into the area, meaning the penalty had to be retaken.
On the re-take, Patricio guessed correctly once again to stop Sterling’s penalty, but the England forward reacted quickest after the ball rebounded off the Wolves keeper to put the ball into the empty net from a matter of yards.
Dominating much of the first-half play and with Man City pegged back inside their own half, Wolves pushed hard for the equalising goal. Firstly, Jimenez took a touch to set himself on the edge of the area before looking for goal with a curling effort which Bravo was equal to, and then with the half in seven minutes of added time, Ruben Neves let fly from distance. However, his goalbound shot from 25 yards was also dealt with by the City keeper.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Man City 1
Just moments into the second 45 minutes and Jota could have got Wolves a deserved equaliser. Jimenez lifted the ball over the top of the City defence and Jota raced through to meet it, but despite getting a toe to the ball, he could not keep his effort from flying over Bravo’s crossbar.
Despite Wolves’ good play, it was the visitors who went down the other end to extend their advantage. Kevin De Bruyne received the ball in midfield and glided a pass on his first touch to the feet of Sterling who raced one-on-one with Patricio before scooping the ball over the Wolves keeper who had gone to ground.
VAR was called into action again early in the second-half when both Jonny and Jota went down in the Man City area, but neither challenge was deemed to have been just cause for a penalty to be awarded.
But just five minutes after going two goals behind, Wolves had found a way back into the game. Neves laid the ball to Traore in midfield and the speedster burst forward before cutting inside and firing a low drive beyond Bravo, off the inside of the far post and into the back of the net.
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure in search of the equaliser, with Dendoncker letting fly from distance and Traore turning inside before firing a low shot towards goal, but both efforts were gathered by the man between the City posts.
Bravo was finally beaten but so was the upright when Romain Saiss got up highest on a Moutinho free-kick which was guided towards the centre of the area, but the Moroccan could not guide his header on target, coming just inches away from the equaliser.
From an almost identical situation, Doherty was unable to keep his header from sailing over the crossbar after a free-kick from the left was headed towards the far post and onto the head of the Irishman.
After pressing for much of the second period, the equaliser finally came with just under ten minutes left on the clock.
When substitute Pedro Neto’s cross was headed towards the far post, Mendy took too long on the ball as he waited for it to go out for a goal-kick, but Traore nipped in to snatch the ball off the City defender before laying a pass on a plate for Jimenez to turn home from inside the six-yard box.
Molineux was in wonderland when Doherty glided around the City defence following great work by Jimenez to flick the ball into the wing-back’s feet as he motored forward and after leaving Nicolas Otamendi on the floor, Doherty curled a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The drama didn’t end there. Moments before the full-time whistle, City were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Sterling on the edge of the Wolves box. The forward took the responsibility himself, but his effort hit the top of the Patricio’s crossbar before going behind.
Wolves hung on to earn a valuable three points which lifted Nuno’s side into the top five of the Premier League table.
Full-time: Wolves 3 Man City 2
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Jonny (Vinagre 73), Neves, Moutinho, Traore, Jota (Neto 79), Jimenez (Bennett 90).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Vallejo, Kilman, Cutrone.
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Mendy, Rodrigo, De Bruyne (Gundogan 67), Silva, Mahrez (Garcia 46), Sterling, Aguero (Bravo 13).
Unused subs: Angelino, Zinchenko, Cancelo, Foden.
Referee: Martin Atkinson